Reply by ChicoWoodnut

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Posted on In need of a new combination square, help please...

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904 posts in 3840 days

#1 posted 12-14-2008 06:29 PM

Things you want in any combo square.

  1. Must be square <g>
  2. 45 degrees must be 45 degrees.
  3. Blade must lock tightly to maintain repeatable measurement.
  4. Edges ground smooth (ends too)
  5. Graduations etched (not stamped)
  6. Scale must start at zero (I have seen scales whose ends are ground too short in the middle of the first graduation)
  7. Matte finish blade so it’s easy to read in any light.

Find a combo like that and you will be happy regardless of manufacturer.

For me, accuracy is most important for tool setup. Blade hight when cutting dados or making tenons etc. is very important even to the 1/64th inch.

Repeatability is the most important though.

For instance, when making a panel all the stiles and rails must be EXACTLY the same size or the panel will not be square. Now take that one more step to an assembly. If you are making two side panels do all the layout/milling at the same time so both panels come out exactly the same.

Constructing projects in such a way that all the like parts are milled at the same time with the same setup makes perfect measurement less important.

Also, whenever possible use a part to make tool setup. For instance, when I want to cut a tenon I will cut the mortise first then lay one of the parts on the saw to get the blade hight.

Just my .02

P.S. I have a 12” Starrett Combo square for the shop and a cheap one for making fences and general construction work.

-- Scott - Chico California

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